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3 Practical Ways Guys Can Build Their Faith in the Local Church

Kile Baker

Contributor
Published Apr 02, 2024
3 Practical Ways Guys Can Build Their Faith in the Local Church

In this brief article, I hope to put forward three ways guys can build their faith in the local church as they long to have their story heard by others, even as it is shaped by Christ.

I once heard another may say: "The greatest need of a man, is for his story to be heard."

There are pivotal parts of a man's story that he longs to tell: his upbringing, major challenges he's faced and overcome, dangerous encounters and near-death experiences, the totality of his accomplishments, and the lows of his struggles. But there may be no more important piece to his story than the conforming of his life around Christ. And for that to take place, he must be introduced to Christ, grow in Christ-likeness, and eventually carry Christ to others.

Engaging men in the life of the local church is an ongoing challenge. Studies show that men are less likely than women to participate in church activities, attend services, and hold positions of leadership. But this doesn't mean that faith is any less important to guys, or that they are not yearning for a deep, meaningful connection with God and their communities. It's the approach that often needs a pivot – toward a more dynamic, action-oriented engagement strategy. 

In this brief article, I hope to put forward three ways guys can build their faith in the local church as they long to have their story heard by others, even as it is shaped by Christ. 

The Challenge of Engaging Men in Church Life

It's no secret that many men struggle to integrate faith into their daily lives. The reasons are myriad and complex – societal expectations, the prioritization of work and personal success, the lack of relatable male role models within the church, the deep father wounds that keep the God who describes Himself as a Father at a distance. These challenges, however, are not insurmountable. The fabric of faith is both durable and adaptable, and with the right approach, even the busiest, most stoic man can find space to weave it into his life.

The participation of men in church life is critical for the health and vibrancy of the community. Men play a unique role in faith communities – as leaders, protectors, mentors, and examples of living the Gospel. When men are actively involved in their local churches, the entire body benefits, and the faith they cultivate becomes a powerful force for good in the world. 

1. Encourage men to go on an adventure.

For many men, the calling to faith is not a sedate, Sunday-morning affair. It's an adventurous pursuit that echoes the bold, challenging narrative of men in the Bible . Churches can tap into this spirit by arranging captivating and adventurous opportunities to nurture faith. Men aren't looking for a day of of axe-throwing from a moving vehicle while eating a steak. The adventures don't have to be particularly dangerous, crazy, or out of the ordinary – but it's helpful if they are more than sitting in one place for an extended period of time. 

Here are a few examples that can appeal to multiple types of men.

Men need to get outside. There's something about nature that resonates deeply with the masculine soul. The grandeur of the outdoors often brings men face to face with their own smallness, creating an ideal setting for contemplation and connection with God. By facilitating outdoor adventures, churches provide a literal and metaphorical space for men to explore their faith in an environment free from the distractions of modern life. While some men do work with their hands and may be outside a lot, there are more than a few than peer outside from their cubicle or office space that long for the slopes on a pow day; the gravel under their tires under the sun; or the calming waters of a nearby stream. 

Men need to play games. Let's be real – men never truly outgrow their competitive nature. Organizing sports leagues, game nights, or even video game tournaments can provide a fun and engaging way for guys to connect with each other and exercise their faith at the same time. These activities also create a low-pressure environment where non-believers may feel more comfortable participating and learning about the Christian faith as they seek a different kind of adventure - that of friendly competition. 

Men need to know they're needed. Men often have a strong desire to feel useful and needed. Churches can capitalize on this by providing opportunities for men to serve both within the church and in the community. Whether it's through mission trips, volunteering at local charities, or helping with maintenance projects around the church building, men can flex their physical or intellectual muscles and use their skills in service of others while also deepening their faith.

men mens event fellowship church meeting friends

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/SDI Productions 

2. Challenge men to get in a group.

Men often bond through shared experiences and mutual support. Small groups within the church setting – like Men's Bible Studies, accountability groups, support groups, or men's groups around activities – offer an intimate space for these connections to flourish. 

Meaningful, genuine relationships are essential for men to grow in their faith. Most men tend to be slow in building and keeping genuine, long-lasting relationships that are important to them. Small gatherings of men provide a place where men can share their struggles, engage one another with scripture on a personal level, and pray for and with one another. This fellowship provides vital support in life's struggles, while also holding each member accountable in their faith walk. Providing men with others who have similar interests, goals, or outlooks on life can help keep each other on track with who God is cultivating them to be. 

Here are a few group ideas that can appeal to men in the local church.

Accountability and support groups. While Bible studies focus primarily on knowledge and understanding, accountability and support groups provide a space for men to put their faith into action. These groups encourage openness and honesty about struggles with sin, and offer support and prayer as members seek to live out their faith in practical ways. There is no building of our faith while something gnaws at us and keeps us from becoming more Christ-like. 

Small Groups. Small groups are a great way for men to connect with other believers, build relationships, and study the Bible together. These groups can be focused on specific topics or activities, such as sports or hobbies, creating opportunities for men to bond over shared interests while also growing in their faith. 

Beers and Bibles. I've probably had more conversations about Jesus and learned more about men over a beer than just about anything else. While this may be a sticking point for certain denominations, or a caution for men with recovery needs, responsibly gathering at a local brewery or bar to discuss scripture over a pint can be a non-threatening and fun way for men to engage with God's Word. It also creates opportunities for open, honest conversations between believers and non-believers that may not happen within the traditional church setting. And possibly best yet, it's a great way to invite non-believers to a non-church setting to talk about Jesus even as they connect with other men.

two guy friends sitting on mountain men boys

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Finn Hafemann 

3. Invite men to retreat together.

The men's retreat isn't a new concept, but its power is often underestimated. Taking a step back from the every day to focus on faith alongside other men is a transformational experience that can reinvigorate one's spiritual life. Retreats do something that the average man cannot or will not do: spend an extended period of intentional time, without the distractions of everyday life, contemplating and connecting with God. Most men just do not have this ability. They're working, studying, providing, living, or just plain not thinking about adding this to their schedule. A retreat gives them the time to focus both on their relationship with God and their relationships with other men in a way that is rarely possible in everyday life.

A retreat offers an intensive, focused period for spiritual growth. Through targeted teaching, worship, and reflection, men can deepen their understanding of scripture and God's call on their lives. It's an immersion that can be difficult to achieve in the fragmented pace of daily life. Beyond the spiritual aspect, retreats forge connections among men that last, potentially, a lifetime. Shared vulnerability in a safe, retreat environment can lead to friendships and brotherhoods that provide support and encouragement long after the event is over. 

Here are a few retreat ideas for any budget or location:

A simple over-nighter. This simplest and easiest way to begin getting men together for a retreat is a simple over-nighter. Rent a cabin or lodge somewhere close and challenge the men to come away just for one night and most of the next day. A Friday night campfire or group time, with a Saturday morning breakfast and outdoor time, can be great. To be further creative, have a portion of it end on a Sunday if the message and worship can celebrate men going on a retreat, or the teaching on a Sunday can be the last session. Just helping men unplug and not have any responsibilities or distractions for a night can work wonders.

A weekend of worship, teaching, and reflection. For those churches with beautiful retreat centers nearby, weekends filled with sessions focused on group worship, activities, individual learning, and more group time can be even more helpful. There are a myriad of camps and retreats that provide everything from cabins, open space, and an auditorium. You can run the weekend yourself with your own people, invite your guys to another camp, or go to something that has everything planned out. Most guys can get away for a weekend.

A week away. The big one is probably the most involved and requires planning, time, effort, and expense. It's going with a (probably smaller) group of guys who can afford, or who sacrifice, to invest in their relationship with God beyond more than just a weekend. This kind of retreat can span four to seven days, and is often at a premiere location that isn't close to home. The idea is to get guys out of their city, their town, their everyday life, and into a space where they can unwind and unlock their passion for God. Sometimes, for men (or people in general), it takes two or three days for the barriers to come down. While this one may be an investment of time, resources, and planning, it can build over the years if done well. Men sign up to go again, take their sons, and become the advertisement for other men to go. 

Final Thoughts and a Call to Action

Engaging men in the local church is a multifaceted challenge that requires creativity, understanding, and a recognition of the unique needs and strengths of the male demographic. By providing opportunities for adventurous exploration, communal support, and intensive spiritual growth, churches can create an environment where men's faith not only survives but thrives and where they can, in turn, become vibrant leaders within the body of Christ. 

I urge you, as a reader, to not only take these steps for yourself but to share them with at least one other man. Enlist them on this faith-building adventure. By enhancing the faith of just one other man, you potentially impact his life, his family, and his community. The ripple effects of your action – whether by a simple conversation or a shared mission trip – can contribute to a renewed, dynamic expression of faith in the lives of many.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/digitalskillet 

Kile Baker is a former Atheist who didn’t plan on becoming a Christian, let alone a Pastor, who now writes to try and make Christianity simple. Kile recently wrote a study guide to help people “look forward to and long for Heaven.” You can get one on Amazon here. He also writes at www.paperbacktheologian.com. Kile is the grateful husband to the incredibly talented Rachel, Dad to the energetic London and feisty Emma and Co-Lead Pastor at LifePoint Church in Northern Nevada. He single handedly keeps local coffee shops in business.